Allegations in FEC Contributions Case Hounds Buchanan

Allegations in FEC Contributions Case Hounds Buchanan

6/18/2011

 

Rep. Vern Buchanan, a Republican from Florida and a rising third-term member of the House, is facing public scrutiny over his previous ownership of a car dealership alleged to have made illegal contributions to his campaign. He plays a key role in the fundraising efforts for Republicans in Congress.

Documents were filed by the Federal Election Commission in Orlando court seeking a $67,900 penalty from the now-inactive car dealership, Hyundai of North Jacksonville, which the Florida representative partly owned until 2008.

The FEC said, in its May 27 filing, that more than 30 contributions were made by dealership employees and their family members to the campaign of Buchanan from 2005 to 2007, which was then illegally reimbursed by the business. Secretly funneling donations through another person or entity, allowing the donor to steer clear from contribution limits, is prohibited by Federal law.

The effort was called by the FEC as “an extensive and ongoing scheme that spanned two election cycles, three calendar years and dozens of secret illegal contributions.”

Buchanan denies any wrongdoing and has blamed the debacle on his former business partner, Sam Kazran. However, Karan who is the object of the FEC complaint, has declared in media interviews that Buchanan asked him to raise the funds for the campaign.

In an interview last week with the Bradenton Herald, Kazran said, “It was, ‘This is what I need to do, and this is what you need to do to take care of it.”

Buchanan’s campaign has vehemently denied the allegations made by Kazran, saying that it stemmed from the latter’s unhappiness about losing other legal disputes. A $624,000 judgment was recently won by Buchanan from Kazran.

WRITTEN BY:

blakeh@wellsdrew.com